President of the Maldives Urges Air Traffic Efficiency Improvements for the Sustainable Growth of Aviation

3 May 2012

President of the Maldives

His Excellency Dr Mohamed Waheed, President of the Republic of Maldives, has urged air traffic management efficiency improvements for the sustainable growth of aviation in the Asia-Pacific.

CANSO and the Maldives Airports Company Limited (MACL) welcomed President Waheed and more than 100 air traffic management (ATM) leaders to the CANSO Asia-Pacific Conference, 1-3 May, to discuss the growth of air transport in a sustainable manner.

In the keynote address, President Waheed recognised the important role of aviation and commended CANSO’s vision for transforming air traffic management performance.

“Air travel is almost synonymous with modern life. It is the fastest growing means of transportation where total passenger traffic is doubling every 15 years.”

“Transforming air traffic management for sustainable growth […] is very important for the sake of our environment, our future and our survival.”

“The consequences of environmental neglect and complacency are no more debatable.”

The highest point of the Maldives’ 1,100 small islands is around 1.5m. Therefore, any rise in sea level poses a serious threat. President Waheed said that the country is doing all it can to reduce its carbon footprint and is working with the private sector to implement bold policies that mitigate CO2 production.

“Institutions like CANSO, just like governments, can bring about changes to redress environmental damage and neglect, and improve the situation.”

President Waheed said that aviation can contribute to a clean environment through more efficient aircraft, the use of biofuels, new air traffic management technologies and procedures, and improved airspace design.

“This issue requires the will to act, the will to take decisive steps and the will to take leadership. This is the defining issue of our generation.”

Mohamed Ibrahim, CEO & MD of the Maldives Airports Co. Ltd said that the Maldives is an appropriate location to discuss the role of air traffic management in the context of climate change and the sustainable growth of air transport.

“As a small island nation, building sustainable transport systems is essential for the country’s development; not only for the growth of the tourism industry, but for healthy and vibrant island communities.”

Mr Ibrahim called on delegates to learn from the examples set by other regions, and to embrace change and new technologies for improving air traffic management efficiency.

Greg Russell, Chairman of the Asia-Pacific CANSO CEO Committee (APC3) and CEO of Airservices Australia reflected on annual traffic growth projections of more than 7% in Asia-Pacific, compared to the global average of 5.1%.

“The challenge is managing substantial aviation growth efficiently as possible,” he said, noting that airspace users are looking to Air Navigation Service Providers to help them save fuel and cut CO2 emissions through air traffic management efficiency improvements.

Mr Russell pointed to several examples of where new systems and procedures are being implemented within borders, but added that further progress relies on increased regional collaboration and a regional approach to managing Asia’s skies.

Samantha Sharif, CANSO Director General (Interim) referred to the recently published CANSO-Boeing white paper, which calls on aviation stakeholders to work together to accelerate ATM efficiency improvements and deliver a step-change in ATM performance.

“The aviation industry has set itself a goal of carbon neutral growth by 2020 and a 50% reduction by 2050. Air Traffic Management is currently 92-94% efficient but there is much more work to be done.”

A wide range of industry speakers also raised the need for enhanced cross-border collaboration, civil-military cooperation, and the Aviation System Block Upgrades; a global ATM modernisation framework developed by the aviation community and facilitated by ICAO, the United Nations organisation for civil aviation, as a means for improving ATM efficiency.

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